If you’ve had problems getting the right colour results, the solution may not be a different brand of colour. Check your water instead.
No matter how long you’ve been a colourist, you probably still dread the moment when a client comes back with a complaint. From colour fade to inaccurate shades to muddy blondes, it’s not necessarily you—or your colour manufacturer—at fault.
Instead, it might be the very water in which your client is showering every day at home. Hard water—meaning water laden with high levels of minerals—is problematic for stylists, particularly in Canada where water is generally harder than in the United States.
According to Tom Porter, CEO and founder of Malibu Wellness, there are three primary water issues: minerals present in hard water, the pH of the water and chlorine in the water. Calcium and magnesium are the most affecting minerals when colouring. “The bottom line is: what’s in the water at home affects what happens in the salon,” says Porter.
Porter uses this visual to explain the challenge colourists face: “Imagine each strand of hair with an invisible wall of tiny rocks around it.” Each day, the problem gets worse and worse, as a client stands relaxing under the shower for three to five minutes because the heat opens the cuticle, allowing more minerals in. Then, when he or she comes to the salon, the stylist is trying to colour over a layer of rocks. This leads to colour fade, muddy blondes and lack of vibrance, among other problems. The most resistant hair is usually found at the top of the head and in the crown, because that is where the water in the shower is hitting the head.
The solution? Remove the minerals prior to colour application. A hair treatment like Malibu Wellness Crystal Gel Normalizer, applied with heat, provides a fresh canvas for colour application.
Porter is quick to point out, however, that it’s not about good water or bad water. “Some of the best water to drink is the worst water for hair, so it’s more about the challenges presented for hair colour by the type of water in the community,” he says.
Is Your Colour Affected?
Challenge: Hard water
Problems: Hair that moves in sections, blondes that get muddy, lack of vibrance and shine, fast-fading colour and colours that don’t match the swatch.
Where you might find it: Brandon, Man., Calgary, Kitchener, Ont., Prince Edward Island, Toronto, Yorkton, Sask.
Where you probably won’t: Inverness, N.S., Quebec City, Que., Vancouver, Wetaskiwin, Alta.
Decoding Your Water
Go to MalibuC.com/WaterTest to enter your postal code and check out the specific results for your area.
0-40 ppm (parts per million) – Soft Water
40-90 ppm – Mildly Hard Water
100-150 ppm – Hard Water
150 ppm+ – Significantly Hard Water